BITTER BIRDS
Week 4 NFL Fantasy Football Rankings
Here are my positional rankings for week 4, which do not include players from the Thursday night game. Quarterbacks 1. Cam Newton, Carolina 2. Drew Brees, New Orleans 3. Philip Rivers, San Diego 4. Matthew Stafford, Detroit 5. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis 6. Carson Palmer, Arizona 7. Kirk Cousins, Washington 8. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville 9. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh 10. Matt Ryan, Atlanta 11. Joe Flacco, Baltimore 12. Derek Carr, Oakland 13. Eli Manning, New York Giants 14. Russell Wilson, Seattle 15. Dak Prescott, Dallas 16. Jimmy Garoppolo, New England 17. Trevor Siemian, Denver 18. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo 19. Brian Hoyer, Chicago 20. Alex Smith, Kansas City 21. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay 22. Brock Osweiler, Houston 23. Sam Bradford, Minnesota 24. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee 25. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets Cam Newton had a terrible game against what is turning into being one of the best defensives in the NFL in the Vikings. Expect a bounce back game against a weak Atlanta defense, as Cam is the reigning NFL MVP. Rounding out the top 5 are Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford, and Andrew Luck; all of whom have phenomenal matchups. These guys are locked in as top 10 options for the rest of the season barring injuries, so start them without thinking twice in week 4. Kirk Cousins looked much more like the 2015 version of himself last week against the Giants. Yes, Kirk Cousins, fantasy owners “like that!” and would appreciate more of it going forward. With a matchup against the Cleveland Browns, Cousins is an easy QB1 on Sunday. Two sneaky plays this week are Dak Prescott and Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo was playing extremely well prior to his injury, and should he start as expected, I think the Patriots put up some points. Buffalo’s defense is respectable, but Belichick is a mastermind. Dak has been getting better and better each week, and now Dallas travels to San Francisco on Sunday. I expect Prescott to use his legs a little more than usual in this one considering Dez Bryant most likely sitting the game out. Dallas needs a win badly to keep pace with the Philadelphia Eagles, and I expect Prescott and fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott to both have big games. Running Backs 1. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh 2. David Johnson, Arizona 3. Ezekiel Elliot, Dallas 4. CJ Anderson, Denver 5. Lamar Miller, Houston 6. Melvin Gordon, San Diego 7. Mark Ingram, New Orleans 8. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles 9. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 10. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee 11. LeGarrette Blount, New England 12. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo 13. Matt Forte, New York Jets 14. Frank Gore, Indianapolis 15. Christine Michael, Seattle 16. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland 17. Latavius Murray, Oakland 18. Jordan Howard, Chicago 19. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta 20. Spencer Ware, Kansas City 21. Charles Sims, Tampa Bay 22. Theo Riddick, Detroit 23. Matt Jones, Washington 24. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta 25. Cameron Artis-Payne, Carolina 26. Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota 27. Chris Ivory, Jacksonville 28. Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants 29. Dwayne Washington, Detroit 30. Justin Forsett, Baltimore 31. Terrance West, Baltimore 32. TJ Yeldon, Jacksonville 33. Matt Asiata, Minnesota 34. Derrick Henry, Tennessee 35. Fozzy Whittaker, Carolina 36. Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland 37. DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh 38. James White, New England 39. Bilal Powell, New York Jets 40. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City 41. Chris Thompson, Washington 42. Alfred Morris, Dallas 43. DeAndre Washington, Oakland 44. Travis Cadet, New Orleans 45. Devontae Booker, Denver 46. Dexter McCluster, San Diego 47. Jalen Richard, Oakland 48. Shaun Draughn, San Francisco 49. Paul Perkins, New York Giants 50. CJ Spiller, Seattle For Le’Veon Bell owners, Week 4 has been in the back of their mind since draft day. If you are a Bell owner who was lucky enough to snag backup DeAngelo Williams, then weeks 1 through 3 probably were not too bad. However, if you are a Bell who did not get Williams, weeks 1 through 3 could have been difficult as the running backs position outside the top 10-15 has been a crapshoot. Well lucky for Bell owners and Steelers fans, he is back on Sunday and heads my running backs rankings this week. When on the field, no back has compared to Le’Veon in fantasy production, so this is a no brainer for me. Melvin Gordon has been getting virtual all of the running backs touches in San Diego since Woodhead went down, and while I expect newly acquired Dexter McCluster to get some looks in the passing game, Gordon gets a great matchup against a Saints defense that was just torched by Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.Gordon seems to be finally turning into the player the Chargers drafted him to be. Although Jamaal Charles is expected to debut this weekend, I expect the Chiefs to limit his touches and be extremely cautious with the star tailback in his first couple of games. Thus, if I have both, I am still starting Spencer Ware. Ware is an RB2 for sure, while Charles is a mere dart-throw of a flex-option. Watch out for Detroit’s Dwayne Washington this week, who faces a soft Bears defense. The Lions love to throw, but Theo Riddick did not look good running the ball last week. Also, if Rashad Jennings cannot go, Orleans Darkwa is the back to own for the Giants. Wide Receivers 1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh 2. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants 3. Julio Jones, Atlanta 4. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston 5. Marvin Jones, Detroit 6. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans 7. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville 8. Alshon Jeffrey, Chicago 9. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis 10. Travis Benjamin, San Diego 11. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina 12. Amari Cooper, Oakland 13. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay 14. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona 15. Demaryius Thomas, Denver 16. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota 17. DeSean Jackson, Washington 18. Doug Baldwin, Seattle 19. Brandon Marshall, New York Jets 20. Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City 21. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver 22. Michael Crabtree, Oakland 23. Willie Snead, New Orleans 24. Tyrell Williams, San Diego 25. Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland 26. Julian Edelman, New England 27. Sterling Shepard, New York Giants 28. Eric Decker, New York Jets 29. Will Fuller V, Houston 30. Allen Hurns, Jacksonville 31. Golden Tate, Detroit 32. Michael Floyd, Arizona 33. Cole Beasley, Dallas 34. Jamison Crowder, Washington 35. Tajae Sharpe, Tennessee 36. Phillip Dorsett, Indianapolis 37. John Brown, Arizona 38. Mike Wallace, Baltimore 39. Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore 40. Kevin White, Chicago 41. Torrey Smith, San Francisco 42. Tavon Austin, Los Angeles 43. Michael Thomas, New Orleans 44. Tyler Lockett, Seattle 45. Victor Cruz, New York Giants 46. Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets 47. Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta 48. Terrance Williams, Dallas 49. Anquan Boldin, Detroit 50. Robert Woods, Buffalo Marvin Jones is the big leaper this week after a huge game in week 3 having over 200 yards and 2 touchdowns! He is really the only deep threat in a potent Lions passing attack, but is much more than that as a receiver. As the established number one receiving threat in Detroit, and facing a weak Bears defense, Jones is a solid WR1 on Sunday. I expect Brandin Cooks to bounce back from a terrible performance in which he was heavily covered by Desmond Trufant. While San Diego has Jason Verrett, a talented corner himself, if the Saints line Cooks up in the slot more, Verrett will not be able to follow him around as much. Even despite the cornerback matchup, Brandin Cooks is the most talented receiver in a potent Saints offense. This one should be a shootout, and Cooks will bounce back. Kirk Cousins hit DeSean Jackson deep last week against the Giants, and this week Washington takes on Cleveland. Even Nelson Agholor beat theBrowns over the top in week 1, so expect Cousins to take his chances deep with the former Philly speedster. Jackson looks to be in better health thus far in 2016, and I like him as a WR2 in Week 4. Denver’s Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both had big games in week 3 as the Broncos finally let new quarterback Trevor Siemian air it out against the Bengals. I think CJ Anderson gets the running game going against Tampa Bay, but now that Siemian proved his is capable, the talent of Thomas and Sanders makes them solid plays going forward. Two names that keep climbing up my rankings are Sterling Shepard and Will Fuller V. These two rookies lead an extremely talented wide receiver class, and should continue to produce. Tight Ends 1. Greg Olsen, Carolina 2. Jordan Reed, Washington 3. Rob Gronkowski, New England 4. Travis Kelce, Kansas City 5. Coby Fleener, New Orleans 6. Delanie Walker, Tennessee 7. Dennis Pitta, Baltimore 8. Julius Thomas, Jacksonville 9. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota 10. Zach Miller, Chicago 11. Jimmy Graham, Seattle 12. Eric Ebron, Detroit 13. Jason Witten, Dallas 14. Gary Barnidge, Cleveland 15. Hunter Henry, San Diego 16. Jacob Tamme, Atlanta 17. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis 18. Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay 19. Clive Walford, Oakland 20. Jesse James, Pittsburgh 21. Martellus Bennett, New England 22. Charles Clay, Buffalo 23. Vance McDonald, San Francisco 24. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis 25. Larry Donnell, New York Giants With Jordan Reed not exactly living up to his draft stock and Rob Gronkowski being brought along slowly in his recovery, I went with the most consistent fantasy producer at the tight end position to top the positional rankings in week 4: Greg Olsen. Cam and company are looking to bounce back after being throttled by Minnesota, and Olsen is one of his top 2 favorite targets. The man has been a top 3 option for years now, and I expect this trend to continue. Coby Fleener owners must be extremely happy after his performance on Monday night. After being targeted heavily in week 2, but having little production as a result, Fleener stepped up big time. As the Falcons paid heavy attention to Brandin Cooks, it was Fleener and rookie wide-out Michael Thomas who stepped up. Fleener should continue to see a high amount of targets going forward.Dennis Pitta is healthy once more, and is quickly becoming Joe Flacco’s most trust target. Pitta has always been talented, and as long as he is healthy is a starting caliber fantasy tight end. Jimmy Graham finally made an impact in fantasy football! It seems as if he has been invisible since leaving New Orleans. Russell Wilson is expected to play, but with a knee injury he won’t be nearly as mobile. I think that Seattle will utilize Graham to attack the middle of the Jets defense. While I am not sold on Graham as a legit TE1 yet, the talent is there, and you have to expect Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson to continue to get the ball to Graham. DSTs 1. Arizona 2. Seattle 3. Denver 4. Houston 5. Carolina 6. New England 7. Minnesota 8. New York Jets 9. Kansas City 10. Baltimore 11. Pittsburgh 12. Los Angeles 13. Washington 14. Oakland 15. Tampa Bay 16. New York Giants 17. Buffalo 18. Detroit 19. Jacksonville 20. Dallas Arizona’s talented defense faces off against an improving, but still underwhelming Rams offense. At home, I expect Arizona to force some turnovers and win big. Seattle, Denver, and Carolina are almost always going to be top 5 options, and this week is no different. If Minnesota can shut down Eli and company this week, they will be in the same conversation. I expect them to win the game, but do not expect a repeat of last week’s 25 point performance. Houston lost J.J. Watt for the season and just got beat soundly by New England who started their rookie third string quarterback. This is a talented unit that will bounce back this week, even without their leader. After the top 8 defenses, the waters get a lot murkier for DSTs. Washington is a sneaky play against the Browns. Kickers 1. Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis 2. Stephen Gostkowski, New England 3. Dan Bailey, Dallas 4. Justin Tucker, Baltimore 5. Graham Gano, Carolina 6. Chandler Catanzaro, Arizona 7. Josh Lambo, San Diego 8. Steven Hauschka, Seattle 9. Blair Walsh, Minnesota 10. Dustin Hopkins, Washington 11. Matt Prater, Detroit 12. Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh 13. John Brown, New York Giants 14. Cairo Santos, Kansas City 15. Matt Bryant, Atlanta 16. Brandon McManus, Denver 17. Will Lutz, New Orleans 18. Nick Novak, Tennessee 19. Jason Myers, Jacksonville 20. Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland That wraps up my Week 4 fantasy football rankings, good luck to all the teams this week!